Mar 24, 2019

How to do Thanksgiving the vegetarian way

Alternatives to a turkey Thanksgiving

Photo illustration by Michael Uribes

Thanksgiving is a traditional holiday that dates back to before our country was even recognized as a nation of its own, but the meal that represents the centerpiece of the holiday was not designed with vegetarians in mind.

Today, being a vegetarian is not considered uncommon, but traditional meals such as Thanksgiving dinner present unique challenges in terms of what can and can’t be eaten while staying true to a vegetarian diet.

One option for a vegetarian living in Fresno is going out to eat on the days around Thanksgiving, because most places will be closed the day of. Loving Hut is a restaurant on Van Ness Avenue that only serves vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Trung Tran is the owner of Loving Hut in Fresno, but says that it is a chain with locations all over the world.

“Our mission is to help save animals and help save the planet at this time,” Tran said.

Vegan meat, or fake meat, takes less time to prepare than a traditional turkey dinner. According to Tran, an entire vegan turkey meal only takes 20 minutes to cook, whereas a traditional turkey dinner can take hours to cook and prepare.

Loving Hut also sells meals ready to cook for larger parties if they are contacted a day in advance. They even sell mashed potatoes if they are given advanced notice.

“We offer a 20 percent discount for ordering for a group,” Tran said.

For those that want to cook a vegetarian meal for Thanksgiving, Whole Foods Market is a specialty grocery store that sells products that are natural, organic and have the least amount of processing available.

Alana Sugar, a food blogger, wrote a blog for Whole Foods about paying special attention to special diet guests on Thanksgiving. She recommends serving a buffet-style service to meet the needs of any special diet that a person might have.

“This is a great way to please all guests and keep the food separate,” Sugar wrote. “It will also introduce many of your guests to new food choices.”

One easy fix for changing a traditional dish into a vegetarian one is to switch a chicken or turkey-based broth with a vegetable-based one.

Another easy fix is to offer a tofu or lentil dish as a main course for guests. These dishes provide an alternative to traditional Thanksgiving courses, and they allow for the vegetarians to still take part and enjoy the celebration with everyone.

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